Two sisters were sentenced in Franklin County Court to three to six years in state prison Wednesday after being found guilty on charges of aggravated assault, criminal mischief, riot and simple assault.
Shakira Staten, 37, and Laketta Staten, 36, assaulted a woman, Fawn Baer, on March 7, 2021. The incident occurred at 757 E. Washington St. in Chambersburg at 1:35 p.m.
Patrolman Matthew Wade responded to the disturbance, where he witnessed the two sisters leaving the scene while the victim, Baer, was found with two large scratch marks across her neck and a bruise on her forehead. Baer explained to Wade that her ex-boyfriend and his three sisters were responsible for the fight and claimed her ex-boyfriend coerced the sisters to beat her up.
Baer argued with her ex-boyfriend before the incident over the phone, which resulted in her being followed around town, and within 15 minutes of her arriving at her friend’s house, Baer’s ex-boyfriend and the three sisters arrived. Baer called 911, and they initially backed off, but as she began to leave, Shakira and Laketta blocked her car in and ripped Baer’s door handle off, ultimately leading her to be dragged by the ankle and assaulted on the street.
Baer suffered a neck strain, a ruptured ear drum, a chip to her hip bone and a rotator cuff injury. Since the incident, Baer had to undergo surgery for her injuries and is constantly stressed when she is driving due to always feeling the need to ensure no one is following her. During the day of sentencing, Baer and the Staten sisters were present, and all three were able to give testimonies.
Baer told Judge Mary Beth Shank that the Staten sisters deserve the maximum sentencing. Baer began to cry on the stand and said that she has forgiven the Staten sisters and her ex-boyfriend but believes the Staten sisters are not remorseful about what happened.
In a written statement submitted to the court, Baer claimed that since the incident happened, she has been diagnosed with severe PTSD and anxiety.
“Trying to heal from that trauma has been very difficult,” Baer said.
Laketta Staten was the first of the sisters to take the stand. Staten told Shank she is remorseful of her actions, and since the incident occurred, it has put a pause on her life.
“I had goals… I wish I could take that day back,” Staten said.
Staten revealed to Judge Shank that this was her first time being able to speak in court pertaining to the incident, and this was the first time she was able to share her side of the story. Staten told Shank that her brother did not coerce her to fight Baer. Staten asked Shank to be lenient towards people who lose their temper and claimed Baer had not been entirely truthful to the courts about the incident.
“There are three sides of the story, hers, mine and the truth,” Staten said.
Shakira Staten was next to speak. Staten expressed that she was remorseful for what happened and Shank should consider the effect of her incarceration on her children. Staten is a single mother of four and does not have family to care for them while she serves time and does not want her children to be put into foster care.
Staten pleaded for Shank to give her the minimum sentence, so she could take care of her children and delay her incarceration date to August because she is pregnant.
“I’m guilty of being there; I’m guilty of not stopping Laketta,” Staten said.
Shank addressed the Staten sisters and expressed to them that the council made the right decision to find them guilty of the crime they committed.
Shank told the sisters she had considered their testimonies, but since the jury did not get the opportunity to hear their statements, it is not being accepted. Shank expressed sympathy for the children affected by the incident but stated, “I can consider it, but it is not my shoulders.”
Shank is willing to have a hearing for Shakira Staten’s delayed incarceration date. Until the hearing, Shakira Staten will spend time at the Franklin County Jail. The sisters are to have no contact with Baer.
The Slate welcomes thoughtful discussion on all of our stories, but please keep comments civil and on-topic. Read our full guidelines here.